AAPEX takeaways, from a Canadian aftermarket perspective

by | Nov 6, 2018 | 0 comments

There is certainly more that will be rolled out over the coming days and weeks, but four key takeaways have stayed with me from AAPEX.

The first is the extraordinarily buoyant mood on the show floor and networking events. While it’s not that unusual to see a positive outlook in a strong economy, there’s enough noise in the chatter-sphere these days that I was prepared for anything. Glad to see the aftermarket continues to smile through adversity.


Tariff talk was very much front-and-centre, but most of the conversations I had indicated that most were taking it in stride. What’s that phrase about having the strength to accept the things you cannot change? While there are certainly some dramatic effects on importers into the U.S., and steel and aluminum costs have gone up for just about everyone, some in the aftermarket did also indicate that the trade measures may have the effect of weeding out the smallest, price-driven players if only due to the increased administrative burden alone.

The third was the welcome proliferation of poppy-wearing Canadians. Worn in anticipation of Remembrance Day on November 11, they were everywhere around AAPEX events. And for those Canadians who might have lost theirs, there was Colonial Auto Parts’ Doug Squires who brought a sack of lapel poppies all the way from St. John’s Newfoundland with a replacement. I thought it was a great, silent way to show that Canada’s aftermarket had it’s heart in the right place and served as a regular topic of conversation.

The fourth resonant point, courtesy AAPEX opening breakfast keynote speaker Karl Rove, is this: as it was the run-up to the U.S. mid-term election, he asked a show of hands of how many had met, become acquainted with, or otherwise connected with their local political representatives. A hunting falcon would have fainted from exhaustion looking for a raised hand. I was shocked at the lack of political engagement in the room, or at least of those willing to admit it.

For Canadian aftermarket professionals, it cannot be emphasized too much how important it is to connect with political representatives.  Rove put it best when he said that while many politicians take positions based on polls, many make decisions based on who is in front of them.

It can be good for your business, but also good for your community which is wonderfully aligned with the way that the aftermarket operates.

Andrew Ross, Publisher and Director of Content, AndrewRoss@JobberNation.ca


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